- The 2008 edition of the Subway Series began with both of New York's baseball clubs dealing with on-field mediocrity, injuries, and overall bad karma. So it went without saying that there was a keen interest over who would fare the better of the two clubs. In a rain-shortened two-game series, the Mets came out smelling like roses, defeating the Yankees 7-4 in the opener on Saturday afternoon behind a strong performance by Johan Santana and wielding the broom on Sunday night, 11-2, despite Chien-Ming Wang's best efforts to keep them in the game.
- Former Yanks' manager Joe Torre also wasn't lucky in his first-ever Freeway Series tilt, as his Los Angeles Dodgers dropped two of three against their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Angels.
- The last time the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies squared off, Joe Carter became the hero for his game-winning walk-off home run that clinched the Jays' second (and most recent) World Series title back in 1993. May 16, 2008, saw the Phillies' Jayson Werth do something equally as impressive. Werth hit three dingers in his first three at-bats in a 11-3 win in Philly.
- The Washington Nationals opened up the second year of their regular-season Beltway battle with a two-of-three series win over the Baltimore Orioles, the last game of which saw Nats pitcher John Lannan (FROM...Siena) get the win in his 15th big-league start, 2-1.
NBA Conference Semis from the Armchair
- If there was ever a team in the history of the NBA Playoffs that has left fans and pundits scratching their heads over their on-court performance, it was the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics. The C's managed to win almost handily at home, but have been prone to tight losses away from the TD Banknorth Garden. It was there that the Celtics finally did away with the Cleveland Cavaliers, 97-92, in a seesaw Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinals. Paul Pierce's 41 points outdid Lebron James' 45, and as a result, the Celtics will now await the Detroit Pistons in the conference finals.
- On an interesting sidenote, Sunday's Crankshaft strip depicted James winning a Cavs game against...the Pistons.
- Whoever wins the Spurs/Hornets series will have to tangle with the Los Angeles Lakers, who also withstood a back-and-forth battle against the Utah Jazz, 108-105. Kobe Bryant led the way with 34 points while Pau Gasol scored half as much in a 17-12 double shot.
NHL Stanley Cup Conference Finals from the Armchair
- A battle of two Pennsylvania teams, each with remarkable turnarounds, ended on Sunday afternoon with the Pittsburgh Penguins making their first Finals trip since 1992 with a 6-0 whitewash against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 of their series.
- Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings failed where the Pens succeeded, dropping Game 5 of their Western Conference Finals series, 2-1, behind strong goaltending from Marty Turco, who stopped all but one of the 39 shots fired his way.
On to Merlin (Maryland), hon
Two weeks after the Eight Belles tragedy marred the finish of the Kentucky Derby, thoroughbred horse racing's elite gathered at Pimlico Racecourse for the 133rd Preakness Stakes. Big Brown, the winner two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, ran no lower than third place and jockey Kent Desormeaux put the hammer down on his way to the finish. The Richard Dutrow-trained horse left 5 1/2 lengths between him and the rest of the field at the wire.
FA Cup from the Armchair
- In one of the more defensive FA Cup finals in recent memory, Portsmouth became the first Premier League club outside of the Big Four to clinch the FA Cup, 1-0, over Welsh side Cardiff City. Nwankwo Kanu provided the lone goal in Pompey's first Cup win for almost 70 years.
In other roundball news
- Two of soccer's biggest stars could be on the move across the pond: Rumors abound that Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo could be headed away from Old Trafford after their UEFA Champions League tilt against Chelsea day after tomorrow (5/21/08). If Ronaldo does leave, signs point to La Liga side Real Madrid.
- On the other hand, Real's chief rival, FC Barcelona, will be saying goodbye to Ronaldinho. The Brazilian striker, along with Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o, will probably not be present at Camp Nou next season, as Barça has a new manager in Pep Guardiola.
- When Nextel (now Sprint) took over the sponsorship of NASCAR's main series in 2004, the suits decided to let the fans have a say in who they wanted to be in the series all-star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. This year, struggling driver Kasey Kahne was voted into the race and took the checkered flag. Though it didn't count in the standings, it was good enough for Kahne.
- Despite a crash during his qualifying during Bump Day (where the rest of the Indy 500's 33-car field is set), A.J. Foyt IV managed to make his way into the field for next weekend's "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
- Across the Pond, Valentino Rossi became the first repeat winner in MotoGP's 2008 season, taking the win at Le Mans, France.
The NFL announced the league's players union is hinting at an opt-out of its current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement, for the uninitiated), which could potentially bring about a lockout in 2011.
Passing out the honors
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Los Angeles Sparks guard Candace Parker: The former Tennessee standout, who was the first woman ever to throw down in a women's college hoops game, put her name in the WNBA record books by going off for 34 points, 12 boards, and eight assists in her debut, a 99-94 win over the defending champion Phoenix Mercury. Maybe we should've called this the "Dudette of the Week", perhaps?
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Washed-up American track star Tim Montgomery: After Olympic glory in 2000 was wiped out by drugs, Montgomery hit rock bottom after being sentenced to 46 months in prison for his role in a check fraud scheme. Pile on a heroin trial in Virginia and this guy's got more troubles than you can shake a checkbook at.
That's all for now.
Until next week, as always, let's all be good sports...